Zombie Craze 2012
Hi there zombie fans. I am so excited to being guesting here today. This is my first time participating in anything for The Bookish Brunette. Having a guest spot on her awesome blog is exciting in itself, but it’s even more exciting when it’s part of Zombie Craze. I love zombies.
Yeah, I know, we all do. But I love them so much I can’t stop writing about em. My personal zombie craze started back in 2006, long before the current fascination with zombies had begun. I got the idea to write an insanely different kind of zombie novel. The idea was so strange I kept talking myself out of it. I hadn’t yet begun my YA writing career. Did I really want to kick it off by writing an off the wall zombie book? As hard as I tried, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head, and eventually Never Slow Dance With A Zombie was born. Fortunately for me, a publisher (Tor/Teen) liked the book, and as it turns out, many of you did as well.
So guess what? I’m back with another zombie book. It’s the first in my Hollyweird series coming out some time this summer. It’s called The Zombie Always Knocks Twice. Didn’t know zombies were that polite, did you? Now ya do.
This time my portrayal of zombies is quite different than in Never Slow Dance… The Hollyweird novels are a bit darker, the stories more dense. The Hollyweird series takes place in and around Hollywood California. The protagonist is fifteen and a half year-old necromancer, Kristine Golden. I decided to write the series because I have lived and worked in the Hollywood community for twenty plus years, and thought it would be fun to write a series about the not so glamorous side of a town I know well, about a girl who unlike most young people out here, wants nothing to do with show business. As Kris says in the first few pages:
[UM Shhhhyea! SNEAK ZOMBIE BOOK PEEK]
…I wasn’t looking for a big break. While I may have been born and raised in Hollywood, California—and have lived here my entire fifteen and a half years of life, I am not an actress, have never wanted to be an actress, or a singer, or have anything to do with show business. So, there’s really no reason for me to even have an agent. But try telling that to Artie Tullman—my agent.
Don’t let Kris’ sarcasm fool you, this is a paranormal novel chock full of dead people and dead things roaming the Hollywood landscape. Want a little taste? The passage below is the scene where Kris first meets Alex, the love interest, and has her initial encounter with a zombie:
The man coming up the block toward us in the hooded sweatshirt stopped directly in our path, about ten feet away. The hood dropped revealing his face. The hair on the left side of his head had been shaved off revealing tiny bits of bony white scalp. Huge staples held his crooked jaw in place. There was a large indentation in his forehead from some sort of blunt force impact. His left eye was covered with a milky, white cataract, and the right drooped unnaturally into his cheek.
My breath caught yet again. Standing before us was a zombie.
“LEAVE US ALONE!” he screeched. Then he took off on a dead run and plowed into Alex with the impact a freight train.
Just great, I thought. Hollyweird—where the dead come out to play.
Zombies aren’t what the movies make them out to be—slow moving, brain dead, brain suckers. They’re the result of a raising gone bad. They can be strong, and fast, and very dangerous. A bite from a zombie won’t make you a member of the living dead, although I’m sure it must hurt like hell.
The one that plowed into Alex was almost six feet tall and about seventeen years old. He hit Alex with inhuman force, propelling him backward. They slammed into a parked car that seemed to explode on impact. The twisting metal and shattering glass sounded like a horrible automobile accident. The car was totaled, and Alex had been fused into the passenger side, like a toy soldier into a wad of Play Doh.
“Oh, God!” I screamed.
Alex’s eyes were closed. He wasn’t moving… but the zombie was. He peeled himself away from Alex and the wreckage.
“Zombie!” I called at the top of my lungs. “I command you to tell me who raised you and what you are doing here?”
The zombie faced me, a puzzled look on his distorted face. It dawned on me he hadn’t known I was a necromancer until then—not that it made a difference. He wasn’t bound to me so he didn’t have to answer my questions. I was bluffing.
“LEAVE US ALONE!” He screamed in response. He started for me, his face a distorted mask of rage. A wave of fear rippled my gut.
“I command you to stay back!” I called, but my voice was cracking, my words lacked conviction.
I took a few shaky steps backward. The zombie continued toward me.
Just then the sound of twisting metal snagged both our attention. Alex’s eyes were open, and he was separating himself from the wreckage. He shed the automobile with the ease of a snake shedding an old skin. His eyes glinted fury. He began advancing on the zombie.
“What’s going on down there?” We all looked up and saw three men, all Johnny do-gooders, running up the block in our direction.
“Leave her alone,” one of them called.
The zombie looked from the advancing men to me and Alex.
“Hhhhh!” Hot breath hissed angrily at us. Then he took off past us like a deer, bounding up the
block. By the time the men reached us he was nowhere in sight.
“You okay?” one of them asked.
“Yes. He… attacked us?”
“What the heck happened here?” Another of the men asked. He was staring at the twisted pile of metal that used to be a Buick.
Before I could open my mouth, Alex launched into an explanation. “My girl and I were out for a stroll, and he was taking a sledge hammer to that car when we happened upon him. Guess it was some kind of vendetta. And when he saw us he decided to add us to the list.” The lie flowed from his lips effortlessly.
“Hey, aren’t you on that TV show?” the third man asked.
Alex smiled. “The Beloved. Yes. You watch it?”
“No, but my girlfriend does. She can’t get enough of you vampire guys.”
Any suspicions the men may have had about our presence on the street or Alex molesting me immediately vanished. Alex was a bona fide Hollywood star. I guess they thought all stars were boy scouts. Where have they been?
Several minutes and three autographs later the men were gone, and Alex and I were walking back to the party.
“You told that lie like you do it all the time,” I said.
“I’m a dead person among the living. I do do it all the time.”
That wasn’t what I was talking about, but I didn’t push it. He seemed annoyed. I guess being attacked by a zombie wasn’t an everyday occurrence for him either.
“If it makes you feel any better, I memorized the car’s plate number. I’ll take care of the
damage,” he said, his words softening.
“Thanks. That does make me feel better.” I wanted to hold my tongue, but I couldn’t. “So, you have any enemies who’d want to send a zombie after you?”
“I don’t have any enemies. I’m a lover not a fighter.” The annoyance was back.
“Maybe you loved the wrong woman.”
“I’m dead. I can’t love any women,” he replied. The words were seething with anger or pain. I
couldn’t tell which.
“He said ‘leave us alone.’ Who’s us?” I asked.
“I don’t know!”
He was getting agitated again so I dropped the subject. But not without noting there was more to Alex than he was telling me. A vindictive zombie had been set loose in Hollywood. It was something I needed to look into along with the deadie from the diner. My, my, I was suddenly a very busy girl.
Isn’t that cool? I hope you enjoyed it. Like I said, I am not sure of the release date. This summer is all I know. If you’d like to follow me on my journey to publication, shamble on over to my blog to keep up to date http://vanlowe.blogspot.com/ And if you haven’t yet read Never Slow Dance With A Zombie, and have been dying to wrap your decaying little fingers around a copy, Ashely is currently holding a giveaway.
Thanks for having me over for Zombie Craze, Ashley. And just to be clear, I want you to know the thing I admire most about you isn’t your stunning good looks, it’s your BRAAIIINS!
Well, it’s ALRIGHT if it’s my GORGEOUS-ness just a little bit.. I certainly won’t hold it against you!!!
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Other books by E. Van Lowe: